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Install Your Parallel Iomega Zip Drive

Copyright (C) 1996 By Steve Litt: Steve Litt's email address 
LEGAL NOTE: I have done my best to make this document complete and accurate. However, any hardware or software installation carries the possibility of problems, including possible data loss and possible irreparable hardware damage. I take no responsibility for any problems you might encounter as a result of your use of this document, including errors and omissions in this document. If you cannot accept this, do not use this document.
This document is copyrighted, but I hereby give you permission to print a paper copy for yourself, to refer to while your computer is taken apart. Be sure to print the sub pages also.

Install Your Parallel Iomega Zip Drive

These are instructions for installing an Iomega Parallel Zip Drive. When installed correctly, these drives are robust and reliable. I trust them much more than tape for backup. But, they're hard to install. Note: for installation instructions for Iomega SCSI Iomega Zip Drives, Iomega Jazz drives, and SyQuest brand drives, consult the manufacturer's instructions or the manufacturer's websites.

Note: Iomega's instructions for the Zip drive say you should power up the Zip drive after powering up the computer, but before the operating system begins to load. It then goes on to say that, in practice, the best thing to do is to put both the computer and the Zip drive on the same AC switch, and power them both up and down with that switch. I STRONGLY recommend your following those instructions during Zip drive installation activities. Simply rebooting the computer may give erroneous results and lead you on a wild goose chase. After it's installed and has been working for several days, such rigorous procedures are usually not necessary.

Theoretical Installation Instructions

For a good combination of fast Zip drive performance and reliable printing, I'd recommend setting your parallel port as EPP in BIOS setup. For the very fastest ZIP drive performance, but possibly unreliable printing or inability to print, set it to ECP.

Power down the computer and the Zip Drive, then screw the Zip drive's cable securely into the computer's and Zip drive's parallel ports. Simultaneously power up the computer and Zip drive, and after Windows 95 loads, run Setup off the Zip Drive's installation diskette. Setup will first run Guest95.Exe from the Zip Drive's installation diskette. (If you're lucky) Guest95 will assign a drive letter to the Zip drive, after which you can use it like any other drive. You then take the Windows 95 Zip media installation disk and install it to your hard disk. The last step is to use the Parallel Port Accelerator, PPAOPT.EXE, to allow as much throughput as your particular parallel port will take. However, my experience is that usually Guest95 will fail to find the zip drive and assign the letter the first time.

In Practice, You'll Troubleshoot

The first thing to suspect is the unavailability of a drive letter. You'll want to put the ZIP drive after the CD-ROM, but before the host drives for your compressed drives. You'll definitely want to put it before any network drives. To do this, you need to "pin down" any other drive letters. Go into device manager (Start/Settings/Control Panel/System Icon/Device Manager Tab). You should see an entry in the tree called CD-ROM, below which is (are) the individual CD-ROM drive(s). For each CD-Drive listed, go into its properties, click the settings tab, and set the reserved drive letters. On a single CD drive, set both the start drive letter and end drive letter to the same letter, being one above the last compressed drive (but before any drives hosting compressed drives). If you aren't using compression, simply set the letter to be one above the last logical hard drive. This will "pin down" the drive letter for the CD.

Next, "pin down" the drive letters for drives hosting the compressed drives. Go into Drivespace (Start/Programs/Accessories/System Tools/Drivespace). In the Drivespace program, select the one host drive, then click "Advanced" from the menu bar, and "Change Letter" from the dropdown. Set the letter to make room for the Zip drive. Repeat with each host as necessary. It may be necessary to insert a "LASTDRIVE" command in Config.sys, I'm not sure. After you're done, close out all programs, power down both the computer and the Zip, then power them both up at the same time.. Run Guest95 again and see if it assigns a drive. If it does, reboot and test several times to make sure there's no problem. If there are any problems, continue with the troubleshooting.

Make sure the Zip Drive cable is securely screwed into both your computer's parallel port and the Zip drive's connector. Make sure NO cable is connected to the Zip drive's pass-through connector (we'll add the printer later). Then power down both, and power them up at the same time. If the problem goes away, test through several power-up sequences. If that cured the problem, power everything down and connect the printer to the Zip drive's pass through connection. Test both Zip drive operation and printing. If the drive works fine but the printer doesn't, and if the parallel port's configured as ECP, go into BIOS setup and reconfigure it as EPP. If there are problems with either the ZIP drive or the printing, continue troubleshooting.

If there are still problems at this point, go into BIOS setup and make sure the parallel port drive isn't configured as ECP. If it is, change it to EPP. Then follow the instructions as outlined in footnote section Dumbing Down Your BIOS. Save the BIOS configuration, then power everything down and up at the same time, and once again run Guest95.Exe. If it still doesn't find a drive letter at this point, you'll need professional help.

[ If All Else Fails ]
Once again, after a drive letter can be reliably created and maintained, use the Parallel Port Accelerator program (PPAOPT.EXE) to accelerate the port.

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Copyright (C)1996 by Steve Litt. -- Legal